Dwindling faith in Boks?
Rob Houwing, Sport24 Chief writer
Cape Town – South African rugby fans’ customary determination to stand by the Springboks through thick and thin is suddenly under threat, it seems.
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The Boks’ nought-from-three record in 2011 has clearly had an influence on sentiment as Sport24 poll respondents – well over 5 000 of them – gave clear majority backing to the All Blacks for the Castle Tri-Nations Test against the host nation in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
This week we posed the question: “Will the Springboks bounce back from their loss to the Wallabies and beat the All Blacks on Saturday?”
And 60% of those who took part backed option No 1: “Ha ha! You must be having a laugh. No chance.”
Admittedly some 19% could be said to have hedged their bets a bit, because they preferred one of the two remaining options: “Tri-Nations doesn’t count: it’s all about the World Cup this year.”
But only 21% stood resolutely behind the Boks: “This is a weakened All Blacks side; the Boks will bounce back.”
So not even the Boks’ unbeaten record against these foes in the Friendly City has been enough to get public support firmly in their favour.
The last PE meeting was the third Test of the 1970 tour, on August 29, when the Boks won 14-3 at Boet Erasmus Stadium to go 2-1 ahead – they eventually clinched the series 3-1.
Previous Bok triumphs over the All Blacks in that city were in 1960, 1949 and 1928.
15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp
Substitutes: 16 John Smit, Tendai Mtawarira, CJ van der Linde, Danie Rossouw, Ashley Johnson, Francois Hougaard, Butch James
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Isaia Toeava, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Adam Thomson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Cory Jane.